The Government Accountability Office (GAO) made seven new appointments to its Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC), according to a Dec. 20 press release.

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workforce

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register today that looks to rescind previous Trump-era Federal workforce policies centered around how agencies handle employee misconduct and poor performance.

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Army

The United States Army has awarded Northrop Grumman a five-year, $1.4 billion contract for an Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS) to link disparate missile defense assets and bolster command and control functions.

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FCC

The Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 30 released membership rosters for the six working groups of its Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC), which provides advice to the agency on how to improve security and reliability of U.S. communications systems.

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USPTO

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has established new criteria for Federal agencies hiring data scientists by releasing its new occupational series for data scientists in government – a project that has been more than two years in development.

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cybersecurity

Information security remains a prevalent concern for the State Department based on numerous previous recommendations regarding fundamental information technology-related issues that still require close attention, according to a recent agency Office of Inspector General (OIG) report.

The report assesses 107 unclassified, open OIG recommendations from 19 reports addressed to the Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) as of July 30, 2021. OIG found that IRM had addressed three of the 107 recommendations and closed one duplicative recommendation related to risk management, one related to data protection and privacy, and one related to general IT policies. Additionally, OIG closed 14 recommendations in August 2021 as part of its normal compliance process.

However, the remaining 90 recommendations – 57 percent of which dated back to fiscal 2019 or earlier – remain relevant and require “close attention to close them,” the report read.

A larger number of the recommendations involve configuration management of products and systems to ensure information security. The other unaddressed recommendations pertain to several areas including as risk management, IT investments, contingency planning, and shared services.

To facilitate closing the remaining recommendations addressed to IRM, OIG made two recommendations to Carol Perez, the agency’s under secretary for management. OIG recommended her office develop a method for periodically reviewing IRM’s efforts – and indicated that step has since been taken.

OIG also recommended that Perez’s office verify IRM plans of action and milestones (POA&M) documented for all 90 recommendations. However, Perez disagreed with that recommendation, explaining that if the end goal is for IRM to solve open recommendations, developing an individual action plan for each recommendation is “overly cumbersome.”

“IRM’s staff, time, and resources are better spent working on compliance-related activities, maintaining a high standard of day-to-day operations, and communicating directly with OIG,” Perez wrote in her response to OIG.

However, OIG argued that under guidance from the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, agencies are required to develop a POA&M, and that Perez must submit a POA for the recommendation.

[…]

FCC
DoD Pentagon Military

The Department of Defense (DoD) has increased restrictions at the Pentagon as COVID-19 cases climb due to the omicron variant of the virus. The Pentagon remains at Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Bravo Plus, but is implementing additional measures to protect the workforce.

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funding

President Biden signed the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2022 into law on Dec. 27, the White House announced.

[…]

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which has served as an influential incubation chamber for a big chunk of cybersecurity policies that have become Federal law and policy over the past two years, underwent a status change over the holidays. The commission, which was born as a Federally commissioned group, transitioned to a 501(c)3 non-profit over the new year.

[…]

A new report from the Data Foundation is evaluating Federal agencies’ abilities to implement the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act), and makes eight recommendations to better implement the law’s evaluation provisions. Top among those asks are requests for more agency funding and personnel resources to properly implement the law.

[…]

CISA

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) National Risk Management Center (NRMC) is cataloguing significant progress it has made in developing its “National Critical Functions” (NCF) framework, and pointing to next steps in the effort.

[…]

As a very busy 2021 comes to a close, it’s time to reflect on the past year and look forward with optimism to the possibilities of the new one that’s about to begin. Rounding the corner to 2022, MeriTalk asked several experts on the industry side of Federal IT for their predictions of what the next year will bring.

[…]

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity took a front seat for the Federal government in 2021, with numerous cyberattacks on government and industry helping to spark a sweeping cybersecurity executive order and a host of new efforts to improve the nation’s security posture. As the year comes to an end, MeriTalk is rounding up our top cyber moments of 2021:

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FCC

According to a research survey from the Pew Research Center, nearly half of parents surveyed said their child faced technology-related obstacles causing them to fall behind their peers with proper broadband connectivity and technology access. Students who lacked these necessities for remote learning experienced what is often called the “homework gap,” which impact may continue to be felt in the future. 

[…]

With the holiday season upon us, we at MeriTalk wanted to spread some holiday cheer. We’ve gathered up photos of our furry friends dressed in festive attire, meeting Santa, or just enjoying some winter weather.

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CISA

With the Dec. 24 deadline approaching for Federal agencies to remediate the Log4j vulnerability, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed to MeriTalk that there have still been no compromises of Federal agencies via the Apache Log4J vulnerability.

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Federal money spending government
cybersecurity
AI
IT

The year 2021 has played out as a non-stop whirlwind of activity for the Federal IT community – one unprecedented in recent memory for new policy direction, funding pushes, and urgency to improve network security.

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